A former soldier was left fighting for his life after catching skin infection caused by dog slobber.
David Money, 51, was in a coma for six weeks while doctors fought the bacterial infection that caused his skin to form tennis-ball sized blisters.
He was in hospital for five months but suffered double kidney failure meaning he now need dialysis every other day.
The former paratrooper’s brush with death was caused by capnocytophaga, a bacteria found in dog’s mouths and saliva.
The dog lover – who has seven pet whippets – regularly attends racing events and experts think he caught it from one licking a small scratch on his skin.
But he insists the ordeal has not diminished his love for dogs and has refused to get rid of the whippets he shares with partner Julie Crosby, 44.
David said: ‘I’m disabled. I can barely walk, I’ve lost my job and I nearly died.
‘My life has been completely turned upside down and to think it’s is from a bacteria from a dog – maybe one of my dogs – is mind blowing thing.
‘The pain I went through was indescribable. To actually sweat with pain is absolutely horrendous.
‘We are far more aware of the dogs now but I would never get rid of my dogs.
‘I can’t believe what has happened to me, but I cherish them.’
David started to experience flu-like symptoms in April and was about to settle down to sleep when he felt extreme pain in his legs.
He was taken to hospital when he started to feel a piercing and burning sensation on his skin, and dark marks appeared on his face.
Medics diagnosed an infection and his condition rapidly deteriorated, until he was screaming out in pain and his skin started to ‘bubble’ as the infection spread.
Huge blisters formed all over his body – including his hands which saw his fingers tripled in size and put in plastic bags to control infection.
He was then placed in a coma for six weeks while doctors diagnosed and controlled the infection.
He was transferred to an acute kidney ward and was finally released from hospital in September.
It is expected David will go on the transplant list next year, and Julie is planning to get tested to see if she is a match to give him a kidney.
They still have all their dogs, but are more careful about letting them lick them, and are raising awareness of the dangers.